Whether you’re a first year or a finalist, ways of studying this year are completely new and, for many of us, these first few weeks have been full of teething problems and time spent adjusting to a new working style. If you’re feeling out of your depth with the new working style – you’re not on your own! There are, however, a couple of things I have found useful to make blended (or completely remote, if you’re isolating!) studying more manageable.
1) Don’t sit in the same place all day!
Of course, if you’re joining a virtual seminar, it’s probably not appropriate to have your housemates in the back of your video. But a change of scenery when working can really refresh you. I’ve found it useful to work in different places for different modules – whether that’s different study spots on campus or different rooms in your house. A day stuck at the same desk can feel like a ‘mini-lockdown’ itself, so switching it up will definitely boost your productivity!
2) Engage in your seminars like you would in person
As easy as it may be to turn off your camera and passively listen to the discussion in your virtual classroom, you won’t be getting nearly as much out of the hour as you would if you actively participated. Turning on your camera can make you feel (and appear!) more engaged in the seminar, making you more likely to speak up and participate in discussion. You’ll really thank yourself for this when deadlines start approaching!
3) Give your eyes a rest
It may sound simple but taking a break from your laptop can do you the world of good. It’s important to take some time away from the screen. One of my favourite ways to spend a break is with a short walk (there are some lovely ones on campus), which is a great way to spend some socially distanced time with friends too!
4) Reach out to academic staff
We might be distancing, but staff are still available to ask for help and I would encourage everyone to contact lecturers/personal tutors about things they’re struggling with. It’s not quite as easy as sticking your head into their office, but I’ve found it really helpful to contact lecturers during their virtual office hours. If you have queries about the library, your academic support librarian is also more than happy to help and can be a lifesaver when you’re struggling to find a book!
5) Keep your desk for studying
Working remotely, it’s so easy for the border between home and university to blur. Even if you’re not sitting on the U1, I’ve found it’s really useful to still take that commute time after you’ve finished your lectures for the day and give yourself a break! It’s also important not to let the border blur during the day too. Keep your desk as a place for working, take time away to eat your lunch and chat with friends throughout the day. It’s also a good idea to take some time to decorate your desk nicely, with pictures of friends, souvenirs or inspirational messages!